Sean Payton needs to trade fan favorite Taysom Hill in the 2022 offseason
By: Jake Rajala
The signing of Taysom Hill in 2017 by Sean Payton was one of the most underrated moves by the Saints head coach of the past several seasons. Hill has clearly overperformed as a player that originally had minimal expectations to make the 53 man roster.
Hill first started to shine on special teams and he would make his presence felt by getting tackles on the kickoff coverage. It was strange witnessing the backup QB run down the field and make the tackle. Nonetheless, Hill did whatever it took to succeed in between the white lines.
Hill’s role would obviously increase from a special teams try-hard to a swiss army knife (QB, RB, WR, TE), and then he would earn playing time at QB — even with Drew Brees healthy. Hill would then often garner his playing time as a rushing threat at the QB spot. After the Saints playoff loss against the Minnesota Vikings in 2020, Hill started to gain national recognition for being the best player in his team’s losing effort.
It wasn’t clear if the Saints would keep Hill, sign him to a long-term contract, or trade him to a team like New England (who was reportedly interested) after the 2020 postseason. Hill would of course be a pivotal backup QB last season, where he would go 3-1 as the starting QB. In the 2021 season, the football audience saw Hill go 2-1 in his second route as a starting QB. Although, it’s worth mentioning Hill hasn’t been close to average in any of his starting games this season.
Yes, Hill has suffered a finger injury and it’s affected his performance. Although, I’d say it’s clear that this season hasn’t gone the way he planned since August. Hill lost the starting gig to Jameis Winston in training camp, Hill faced injuries earlier in the season, and now the 31-year-old, beaten-up QB is out of the lineup with COVID.
The swiss army knife we’ve got to love can’t continue to be very effective for much longer. There aren’t many effective skill players at 31 – 32 years old. I don’t believe that the Saints should see a plethora of potential in him at this stage, also as a pocket passer. He still should maintain a solid combination of speed and arm talent for a few more seasons, but he shouldn’t be heavily relied on as a WR/TE long term, or really a QB that has a very high ceiling anymore.
The free-agent QB class in 2022 is modest, but there are only a few QBs that will be given starting QB expectations. Teams will surely be on the trade block for a QB. QBs like Gardner Minshew, Baker Mayfield, Drew Lock, and Taysom Hill could be dealt. Teams like the Lions (think former Saints TEs coach Dan Campbell), Cardinals, or Eagles would all be ideal fits for Hill’s skillset.
Sean Payton will be searching for a starting QB this offseason and count on Jameis Winston being the floor in terms of interest. The Saints could very well reshape their QB room and it’s not clear whether they will want to keep Hill’s situation on the shelf. And if Ian Book shows that he has real potential and he is able to make plays against the Dolphins, it could cement him as the future QB2 and erase any need for the gritty Hill to be in the QB room.
Payton isn’t scared to send a fan favorite playmaker out of the building if the right offer sits on his desk. Who Dat Nation saw Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks both shipped off the team for controversial deals. Don’t be shocked if Hill is the next Saints weapon to take his talents elsewhere — after the former BYU prospect skyrocketed his career in the Big Easy.